Peiria v. Ratnabarthi Ar'alchy
1948Present : Basnayake J.
PEIRIS, Appellant, and RATNABARTHI ARATGHY, RespondentS. C. 255—C. R. Panadure, 11,203
Rent Restriction Ordinance—Commencement of tenancy before Ordinance cameinto operation—Rent agreed on in excess of authorised rent—Landlordcannot recover excess—OrdinanceNo. 60 of 1942, Sections3 (I) and 3 (1a.).
Under sections 3 (1) and 3 (1a) of the Rent Restriction Ordinance alandlord cannot recover any rent in excess of the rent authorised by theOrdinance on or after the day on which the Ordinance came intooperation in any area regardless of the time at which the tenancycommenced.
^^.PPEAL from a judgment of the Commissioner of Requests, Panadure.
B. WilcramanayaJce, K.C., with H. Wanigatunge and P. E. de Silva,for defendant, appellant.
M. D. H. Jayawardene, for plaintiff, respondent.
Cur. adv. vult.
(1911) 14 N. L. R. 496.
(1885) 12 Calcutta 140. )
(1930) L. J. Prob. Div. 52.
BASN'AYAKE J.—Peiris v. Ratnabarthi Aratchy.
December 20, 1948. Basnayake J.—
The defendant-appellant (hereinafter referred to as the defendant)is the tenant of the plaintiff-respondent (hereinafter referred to as theplaintifF). By deed No. 8153 dated May 25, 1942, the plaintiff purchasedthe premises from one Madappulla Arachchige Mercy Harriet Fernando,whose tenant the defendant was at the time. After the plaintiff becamethe owner, and before the Rent Restriction Ordinance, No. 60 of 1942(hereinafter referred to as the Ordinance) came into operation in the areawhere the house was, a rental of Rs. 12 per mensem was agreed on. Thatrental is in excess of the standard rent, which is Rs. 3 per mensem.
The learned Commissioner holds that, as the agreement to pay Rs. 12per mensem was made on a date prior to that on which the Ordinancecame into operation in that area, the plaintiff is entitled to continue toreceive rent at the agreed rate. He regards the Ordinance as applyingonly to contracts of tenancy made after the Ordinance has come intooperation in any area.
I am unable to agree with the learned Commissioner. I think it isclear from sections 3 (1) and 3 (1a) of the Ordinance 1 that regardlessof the time at which the tenancy commenced it is unlawful for any land-lord to demand, receive, or recover, and for any tenant to pay, or offerto pay, in respect of a period commencing on or after the day on which theOrdinance comes into operation in any area, any rent in excess of therent which may lawfully be received or paid under the Ordinance.
A retrospective statute is a statute that has effect from a date anteriorto that on which it becomes law. If, for instance, section 3 (1) (a) of theOrdinance had the words “ in respect of any period commencing on orafter September 3, 1939 ”, it would be retrospective and not prospectiveas at present. The fact that the Ordinance interferes with the futureoperation of existing contracts does not make it retrospective. Wherea statute affects an existing contract the contract must yield to the statute.
In the case of Wijemanne & Go. Ltd. v. Fernando 8 the argumentthat the plaintiff now puts forward was advanced in respect of a notariallyattested lease but was rejected by this Court. It does not appear that thatcase was cited to the learned Commissioner.
The other cases 2 3 cited by the learned counsel for the plaintiff haveno application to the instant case, and I do not propose to discuss them.
Sections 3 (7) and 3 (7a) of the Rent Restriction Ordinance, No. 60 of 1942 :—
“ 3 (7). It shall not be lawful for the landlord of any -premises to which thisOrdinance a-pplies—
to demand, receive or recover as the rent of such premises, in respect of any
period commencing on or after the appointed date, any amount in excess ofthe authorised rent of such premises as defined for the purposes of thisOrdinance in section 4 ; or
to increase the rent of such premises in respect of any such period to an amount
in excess of such authorised rent.
(7a) It shall not be lawful for the tenant of any premises to which this Ordinanceapplies to pay or offer to pay, as the rent of such premises, any amountin excess of the authorised rent of such premises as defined for the purposesof this Ordinance in section 4."
2(1946) 47 N. L. R. 62.
3Edmund v. Jayewardene (1945) 46 N. L. R. 306', De Silva v. Siriwardene(1946) 47 N. L. R. 487.
BASNAYAKE J.—Haasanally v. Jayaratrve.
I uphold the. defendant’s contention that the Ordinance applies tothe tenancy in question. He is entitled to a refund of all payments inexcess of the rent that may lawfully be recovered under the Ordinance.The case will go back for the determination of the respective rights ofparties on that footing. The defendant will be entitled to the benefitof the learned Commissioner’s finding in his favour in regard to therepairs effected by him.
The appeal is allowed with costs.
PEIRIS, Appellant, and RATNABARTHI ARATCHY, Respondent